« Posts under deep thoughts

Odds Are

Okay so Flutter 1.0 landed with a dull thud in the app store. But THAT’S OKAY! It has only encouraged me to make it better.

So I’ve spent the last few weeks adding POWERUPS.

Boy are these fun to play with! More on those soon.


But in the meantime, I was thinking the other day about games and apps and what if you could pull back their skin and see their guts. Like what if you could take a game and strip it of all the design and particle effects and fancy graphics etc. What would be left?

I think it would look like this basically:


These are ODDS. Aren’t they beautiful?

Specifically, these are the odds that specific powerup types will occur depending on our current difficulty level.

You can see from the array setups that there are 8 levels of difficulty (top to bottom), and 11 powerup types (left to right).

At difficulty 0, when a game first starts, the odds are 80% you’ll get a powerup type 0 (the most basic and rudimentary powerup type), and a 20% chance you’ll get a powerup of type 1.

Looking at the numbers feels like peeking into the Matrix to me. I find it fascinating that looking these over you can almost get a kinetic sense of the gameplay. This is the soul of the machine.

As a developer, odds are always top of mind. And of course with something like powerups, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are other things to consider.

My coding style is pretty verbose. I comment the hell out of stuff to make sure I don’t get confused later. Apparently this is called Literate Programming. Here’s a snippet of comments outlining some of the odds logic at work:

// need to consider a few things like:
// 1. have we already used this powerup recently? for some powerups that matters a little
// 2. certain powerups should be more prevelant at higher difficulty levels
// 3. of course only pick from powerups that are unlocked/available
// 4. if we *just* unlocked a powerup, we should probably use that one at least once in the following game
// 5. blackopolypse requires a lot of black blocks in the glowboxset
// 6. flutterworks requires a lot of colored blocks in the glowboxset

Isn’t life itself just an infinite array of odds?

Now that’s an odd thought!


FLUTTER is launching this Thursday at 12:01am… which ostensibly means tomorrow night.


So what does a solo developer feel on the night before launch?


There’s a large moon rising out the window. Tomorrow night it will be full. A sign? Who knows. As always with these things it could be a huge embarrassing bellyflop. At the same time, I’m very proud of it. I think it’s a very good game. Maybe even a piece of art.

As a solo dev I don’t have the resources of a studio to, say, throw a fancy launch party or do extensive beta testing. I showed it to some friends and they liked it. I know some of you might say- ‘hey! actually even indie devs have the ability to a/b test and get surveys filled out and do pr and marketing…’

You’re right. I’m very aware of that. But I’m also very aware of the opportunity cost. I’m an indie dev. I am one solo dude. Every second I spend sending out some pr email is a second I COULD BE SPENDING DEVELOPING THE NEXT APP.

And that is what I’ve been doing instead.

I’m already working on the next one.

I have a lot more control over making a game as amazing as I possibly can than I could ever have trying to market to a global audience for zero dollars. And maybe it’s naive. But I pride myself on stubbornly clinging to the belief that great art– great product– great entertainment– is the absolute best marketing there is. Build a great app and they will come. Apple has made that at the very least feasible.

Thanks for reading! I hope very much that if you purchase Flutter you enjoy the experience and have way more than $1.99 worth of fun with it! I hope it makes you smile. And curse. :)

Whether the masses take a shining to it or not, I’ll be dusting off the keyboard and working furiously on the next one. Perhaps by the light of that full moon.


The Finish Line

Well it’s been a marathon that’s for sure.

Never in a million years did I imagine when I started this app process almost a YEAR ago that it’d take this long to reach the finish line.

But here I am. Finally.

This is a sight any developer is psyched to see:


It’s been a looong road. And I’m exhausted. Tomorrow the app launches all over the world. We’ll see what happens! Until then I’m gonna dream happy spider dreams and keep all my digits crossed. Here’s hoping.


How Much Work in an Indie App?

As I near the end of this seven month development process, my thoughts turn to reflection. What a journey it’s been. I initially thought I’d create a fun ‘spider’ app for Halloween. I had this thought back in mid October of last year. I was working on a pretty involved game project at the time that seemed like it would take another five years to finish. So I thought why not take a break and throw together something quick?

My initial plan was to give myself ONE WEEK to see what I could pull off. I coded like crazy and even pulled an all-nighter. I was super close to having something actually publishable.

But I ended up missing Halloween by a day or so. At that point I decided there was no longer any rush. Why not tinker with it and make it perfect?

I went from a cheesy 2D sprite spider to a fully rendered 3D spider equipped with a rudimentary artificial intelligence. I spruced up the interface considerably and added a lot of bells and whistles including localization in twelve languages.

Suffice to say it’s no longer October. What I thought could take a week instead took basically an entire a year.

Now to be totally fair, I work full time as a Motion Graphics artist, so it’s not like I could work every second on this app. I’d sneak in coding time where I could on nights and weekends. But it was still quite a slog.

So how much work did I actually do?

I use to-do lists to help me stay sane with my projects. My favorite list app is Wunderlist. It’s great cuz it synchs through the cloud over my phone, desktop, ipad etc.

Anyhoo, here’s a screengrab of my Wunderlist list for my app. Each checkmark represents a stage of the development process. Some items took me an hour, some took me over a week. Moreover, I wasn’t totally committed to list-keeping… so I’d say maybe 50% of the work I didn’t even bother listing. I use lists to help me stay organized– not to punish myself in some sort of OCD ritual.

Here’s the list! Whew. Quite a lot of checkmarks for such a simple little app. And you’ll notice that it’s not finished either. Any day now I hope! Of course, that’s what I was saying seven months ago.


Hello world!

Welcome to Sebastian’s Games. I make apps. This is the end of one long journey and the beginning of a brand new one. By the way, is it just me, or does anyone else out there think we’re basically just living in a giant computer simulation?